Sunday, June 30, 2019

Jan-05: "Natty Greene 200"

[At least I'm in the same year now.]

On the drive from north Raleigh to Greensboro, Harvey commented that we were in for a tough ride,
As there was, according to RWGPS, slightly over 7000 feet of climbing on the route.

I responded that we were lucky that Tony had decided to use the "Natty Greene" route
Instead of the "Sedalia - Danbury" route.

Harvey refuted that!
He had the "Natty Greene" route loaded on his GPS device and
There was a lot more climbing than the previous 200-km brevets he had done, and
Also more climbing that any of the "200" km permanents he had done.
[Without checking the results to confirm: 
I recall that Harvey's previous 200-km brevets were:
  • a very flat 200 out of Lumberton, NC in early 2017, and
  • a hilly 200 out of Salisbury (but significantly less climbing than the "Natty Greene"). 
And the "200" perms, while hilly enough, were much milder than the "NG": 
  • "Road to Hicksboro," and 
  • "Warrenton and Egypt Mtn."] 
Although Harvey didn't accept my "analysis," I am glad that we were doing the "NG" route, even though I  had never before ridden it, instead of the "Sedalia - Danbury" route as I did not want to contemplate Phillips Rd and its incline that reaches 18% at one point.  Although RWGPS indicates that the "NG" route has slightly more climbing, nothing on the "NG" approaches Phillips Rd in the steepness category.  [Some of the climbs on the "NG" were steep "enough" as it was / as we were about to experience.]

Enough background.  On with the story.
But first, the route map:  a link to Tony's RWGPS map, click here to open in a new tab.
(I'm going to risk that Tony won't completely re-purpose that map in the future,
But as insurance, here follow "hard-copies" of the route map and elevation profile.)

(Well, okay, blogger added both pics when I was trying to load only the map, to be followed by the profile, but okay, the above works.  Well, it works as well as a pic of the route might be expected to work.)

The gathering point / start location was in downtown Greensboro, next to the RR station.
Mild temperatures for January 5th.  The almanac indicates a morning low of approx 45F.
The high temp on the day was approximately 60F.
Sunny conditions all day.
But here is a strange thing about the unseasonally warm temps:
There was a strong wind out of the NW.
Look at the map:  we'd ride into that wind for the first half of the ride.
It was particularly noticeable for the nine miles after the first intermediate control,
Which was just west of Madision, NC.
Let me try again to get to the strange point about the wind:
A wind from the NW during the winter does not usually accompany 60+ degree temperatures!!
[All the almanac stations indicate that the wind was out of the WSW. 
To that, I reply, "bull hockey!"]

Being the first weekend of the ACP 2019 season
(in RUSA-land, other countries have season start / stop dates different than RUSA has),
Combined with the mild weather conditions,
There was a good turn-out for the brevet.
Official results indicate 30 riders, 28 of which finished.
I looked at the results:
  • I know who the two DNF's were, 
  • I know, or have at least met, 18 of the 28 finishers, 
  • And I've heard of one other. 
  • I wouldn't know the other nine if I fell over them.  

The plan for the day was Harvey, Bob, and me to ride together.
That worked well early on.

The entire crew was pretty much together through Greensboro, but
Things did start to sort out soon enough.
Group still within Greensboro city limits.  [photo by TonyG]

The first intermediate control was about 31-miles into the ride, just west of Madison, NC.
Interestingly, if one looks at the brevet route description on the RUSA website,
One would see that the control is supposedly at Ellisboro, which is about 26.5-miles after the start.
Perhaps Tony has made a de minimus change to the route.
Or it could be that information on the RUSA website has always been a bit suspect.
[After all, brevet route #2356, "Badgett Sisters Parkway," 
Which was created to help deal with the December Permanents suspension, 
Shows controls in Mebane and Hillsborough, but 
The route gets no closer than 5-miles from HIllsborough, and 
Doesn't come even that close to Mebane. 
Maybe the Corbett control has a Mebane address. 
The Underwood Grocery probably has a Hillsborough address, but 
No local would refer to the Underwood location as being "in" Hillsborough.] 

Anyway, there were at least ten of us, maybe twelve, that left that Madison control together,
As the Lantern Rouge group,
To start the 6-mile gentle incline, into the wind, on K Fork Rd,
Which would be followed by another 4-mile gentle incline on NC-772, into the wind,
Followed by 9 flattish miles on NC-704, maybe into the wind.

Byron and Ricochet were the first to get tired of waiting at the Madison control and started riding,
I was also thinking we were wasting time, and was eager to get going, so I followed Byron + Ricochet.
Bob got behind me, and Harvey was behind Bob.
Behind them, the group included MikeD, Joel, Kevin, Tommy, Doug, Greg, DaveG, and Devaul.
[At least I think that all of those were in the group. 
I certainly know that first 6 were, but it is possible that DaveG and Devaul were well ahead, 
But later drifted back to team up with MikeD, Joel, and Kevin.]

Bryon led for a mile or two, and then pulled out of the lead.
And surprise, but not really, Ricochet pulled out with Bryon instead of taking a turn at the front.
Just as well, I suppose, since Bryon + Ricochet together are not big enough to create a usable draft.

I led for about a mile [I'm guessing], and decided to pull out and
Take advantage of the draft that the big group would create.
I drifted back, leaving Bob in the lead, followed by Harvey.
But then, there was a huge hole that was being made by the immediately following riders.
So, I pulled in behind Harvey.

Bob is a dependable rider, but this day, at this location, it seemed that he picked up the pace.
After another mile or so, I couldn't hold the effort needed to stay on Harvey's wheel, and
Started to drift back.
The others started to come around, one by one, or maybe even two or three at a time.
I wasn't concerned; I would finally be able to take advantage of the big draft from the big group.

However, when the last of those still with the group,
Which was everyone mentioned above except for Greg, who apparently been popped off earlier,
Had gone around, I still couldn't hang on.
So I let the group go.

I wasn't worried.
I knew that I would eventually re-connect with Bob and Harvey, and
I had a cue sheet with me.
I can ride as far as needed by myself.
It would be no problem.

When K Fork Rd ended at NC-772, I couldn't see any of the others.
[I had been occasionally catching glimpses of either Bob or Harvey up the road.]
So I had to get the cue sheet out of my back pocket and figure out which way to turn.
As I was re-folding the cue sheet to put away until next needed,
Greg came riding by, apparently using his GPS for navigation, and
At that same moment, a GUST of wind blew the cue sheet from my hand and into the ditch.
Lucky for me, the cue sheet caught in the long grass of the ditch, else I would have been in trouble.

I retrieved the cue sheet, put it my pocket, remounted and started riding.
I could see Greg up ahead, and realized soon-enough that I was slowly catching him.

I did catch Greg and start to pass, thinking he might grab my wheel.
But Greg apparently wanted to chat for a bit, so we ended up riding side-by-side for awhile.
Finally, perhaps as the result of another gust of wind, or perhaps a slight tilt upward in the incline,
Greg was behind me, and I was slowly pulling ahead.

As noted in prologue, it was a beautiful, sunny day, and
I think I was enjoying my ride, wondering when I might re-connect with Bob and Harvey. and
Figuring that Greg with likely stay more-or-less within sight of me.

Then suddenly, there was Harvey pulled over into a church parking lot.
My recollection is that he had pulled over at approximately 42-miles into the ride.
That makes sense since Delta United Methodist Church is located at the 41.5-mile mark.
One thing though:  the google-street-view is not correct -- I suspect the view is outdated.
Or perhaps my memory is not quite correct.

Anyway, Harvey had pulled into the church parking lot, so I turned into the lot and stopped next to him,
"What's up, Harv," I asked.
"I'm checking to find the shortest route back to Greensboro," he replied.
"Because I'm done and need to go back," Harvey replied.
"No,  You are not done."
"Yes, I'm worn out, I can't continue."
"NO, you are NOT done.  You are not turning around. You are not quitting."
"You are going to ride with me, and you are going to FINISH this ride!!"
I was adamant.

I recall that it took at least three or four "no, you are not done, you are finishing this ride"
Proclamations from me to convince Harvey.

Then Harvey started removing his jacket and perhaps a long-sleeve jersey
Because he was now over-dressed.

Somewhere in the midst of the above, Greg had pulled into the church parking lot to join us.
I urged, no, I instructed Greg to ride on.
That Harvey would ride my pace, which was a little faster than his,
So if Greg would leave now, we would catch him up in a few miles.
Greg, perhaps reluctantly, proceeded on.

Harvey had trouble getting the clothing he had removed into or strapped onto his pannier.
So the two us didn't leave the church parking lot for several minutes after Greg.

According to Harvey, we caught Greg about 9-miles later.
Harv seemed surprised that it had taken us that long to catch Greg, but
If you give someone a 4-minute lead, and ride each mile in one-half minute faster,
It will take eight miles to catch the "rabbit."

I recall that we caught Greg a bit before crossing into Virginia.
The state line was at the 50.3-mile mark.
So Harvey's recollection seems correct, at least in a gross magnitude estimate way.

From the Virginia line to the second intermediate control at Dry Pond, VA
Was ten-and-a- half miles of quite hilly stuff.
Every upslope, Harvey and Greg would drop behind as they continued their struggles. 
[It was no picnic for me, but I can't say that I was struggling.]

The last one-third of a mile from Elk Creek up to Dry Pond
Was on a nice, wide, sunny road,
With, according to RWGPS, an incline that gets up to at least 5.4%.
That is definitely non-trivial in my book.
Harvey and Greg had dropped me off their front wheels, again, on that last climb.

I turned into the control, finding RBA Tony, newbie Tommy on his Moulton, and
Eight-time PBP finisher (I can't spell ancien) Doug at the control .
Usually, when you see Tony in the middle of the course,
Esp. if he is at or near the lantern rouge crew,
Tony is checking on the riders he doesn't know,
To see how they are doing.

I assumed that is what Tony was doing this day,
So taking a peek at where Harvey and Greg were,
I told Tony not to worry about Harvey -- I would get him to the finish.
I added that I could also get Greg to the finish -- unless his friend Tommy took on that mission.

Tony indicated that he was not at Dry Pond to check on the conditions of the lantern riders, but
I'm sticking with the thought I had when first I saw Tony in Dry Pond.

Harvey and I took half-an-hour at Dry Pond.
During that time Harvey finally ate and drank enough to get ahead or catch up
With possible slight-dehydration and slight-bonk conditions.

During that half-hour, Doug left, and then Tommy and Greg left.
We would catch-up to Greg and Tommy later, but
I never saw Doug again. Results show that Doug caught- up to some other riders.
And eight time ancien knows what he's doing.

Immediately upon leaving Dry Pond, we took a left turn onto Collinstown Rd, and
More importantly, the road tilted UP.
And Harvey, topped up with fluids and food, I couldn't keep up with him on any of the climbs
Between Dry Pond and Danbury, NC.
And in case you are wondering,
The twenty miles from Dry Pond to Danbury had more than its share of the climbing.

I labored / struggled on many climbs while Harvey sometimes seemed to be only soft pedaling.
Amazing what food and drink can accomplish.

We crossed the Dan River so many times that I lost count.
Every crossing had meant a decline to get to the river, followed by another steep climb.
Harvey took to referring to the river as Damn River -- that added some amusement.

The repeated climbing and descending did not stop even once inside the Danbury city limits.
I was beginning to think we would never get the control.
I was familiar with the control, and the first road after the control, but
I had never ridden (nor driven) on the road through Danbury to get to the control.
Every darn climb inside the city limits was more than I wanted to deal with.
Soft-soft pedaling did get me up every climb, but I was not enjoying the sensations.

A mile or two before the control, maybe less distance than that.
But there were still at least two more steep climbs, all within Danbury,
We say Greg sitting in a church parking lot off to the left of the inclining roadway.
I called out to him, "come on Greg, it's only a mile or so to the control.  Come join us."
Greg responded that he was done.
His wife had traveled from the Raleigh area to Greensboro to surprise / congatulate
Him on completing the first on the way to Paris.
But now, she was coming to rescue Greg.  He was to meet her at the Danbury control.

Tommy was still at the Danbury control when Harvey and I got there.
Greg arrived several minutes after we had.
Tommy chatted with Greg, and then Tommy took off, headed for the last intermediate control.

Harvey and I took another half-hour control stop, then we headed after Tommy.
Not that we were trying to catch him.
Not that we expected to catch him.
In fact, given our long stay at the Danbury control,
I figured that we would not see Tommy again.

Sheppard Mill Rd out of Danbury hits the legs hard.
Even RWGPS indicates that the incline gets up to 8%.
My recollection is that although I may have started up that incline ahead of Harvey,
He soon returned to climbing better than me.

After 2.2-miles on Sheppard Rd, we turned onto Pitzer Rd.
I had told Harvey that I was familiar with Sheppard Rd.
He thought I might be familiar with more of the roads ahead of us.
But the only portion of the route that I had seen previously was Sheppard Rd.

The tough rollers -- "rollers" -- Ha! -- after Danbury only last about 9-miles,
Then we were on the more-or-less continuous gentle decline to get back to Madison.
We may have also had a tailwind.
Harvey later reported that we covered the last 9-miles to the Madison control in less than 30-minutes.

While on that gentle decline, we caught Tommy.
He was no longer putting any real effort into pedaling.
We tried to get him to latch onto us, but no-go.

We got to the last intermediate control just west of Madison.
The same location as was the first intermediate control earlier in the ride.
We had only 31 more miles to cover.

Harvey wanted to get something approaching real food from the grill.
We ended up with another half-hour control stop.

While waiting for our food, Tommy arrived and joined us at the counter.
He ordered some food.
We tried to convince him to come with us -- that we would get him through the final 31-miles.
Tommy couldn't be budged from his decision to DNF.
He had contacted Greg and arranged that Greg and Greg's wife would collect Tommy at the control.

[ I next saw Tommy at the Raleigh Region 200 in April. 
I apologized to Tommy for having been so adamant and hard on him on January 5th 
When trying to get him to continue on. 

I've done enough all-ride volunteering on Taste of Carolina 1200's, 
Often shepherding lantern rouge groups, 
To know that sometimes the thing to do is to virtually throw the rider back on their bike, 
And also to know that sometimes gentle persuasion is the way to go. 
And sometimes, if the rider is a super experienced 1200 rider, all one does is 
Ask "are you sure?"  And accept the DNF/

Anyway, Tommy indicated that afterwards he had concluded that he should have finished with us.] 

It was getting dark when we left Madison.
But it must not have been completely dark because we stopped somewhere en route
For Harvey to put on his reflective gear.
I had worn mine all day, mostly unzipped, on top of my wind-breaker, also unzipped,
So all I had to do to fully reflector gear up was zip up.

For the first half of those last 31-miles, Harvey continued to be quicker up the climbs.
But the last 15 or so miles, that was reversed.
I don't know if fatigue had caught up with Harvey, or
Maybe the riding in the dark affected Harvey more than me.
I've done plenty of riding in the dark, but Harvey has not.
He was, and is, unnerved by the prospect of riding in the dark, actually riding in the dark.

The last couple miles were again in downtown Greensboro.
We caught every single stop-light on the red.
We were lucky when we got two or three blocks before having to stop again, and again, and again.

We arrived at the finish, finding RBA Tony there.
He took a photo.
He posted it on Facebook.
I may get around to "borrowing" it.
Harvey had a big smile -- he usually does.
I, as usual, looked as if I was Death, slightly warmed over.

However, as I noted to Tony, I felt better after a 200 than I had done in a long time.
Tony commented that I did appear to be slightly less done-in than I had recently.
So ... after signing the control cards, etc., Tony wants to take the usual finishers photo. 

I just put on my normal face; I know Harvey has his big smile on. 

Tony says, "Martin, smile at least a little."

I smile. 

Then Tony says, "don't overdo it."

So I de-smile a bit. 

But Tony takes enough time before actually taking the pic, that I start to mess about changing my facial expression slightly, and the above is what Tony managed to capture.

Harvey insisted that we grab some dinner before heading back to Raleigh.
He also thanked me for not letting him quit early in the day.

A note of ... something to address my possible hubris:
I may have come off during the ride,
I may have come off in the above text,
As being awfully dang sure of myself during this ride.
Too dang sure of myself.
Perhaps reaching to the level of being a jerk.

Well, I knew I would finish the ride.
And Harvey wanted to go to PBP, and
He was not going to come up short on my watch, period !!
Also, I knew that Harvey had more in him than he thought he did.

I obviously also tried to get Greg and, to a greater extent, Tommy to finish this ride.
They also wanted to go to PBP.
But whereas I've known Harvey for ten years,
I only met Tommy and Greg in August 2018, and strictly speaking, they weren't "on my watch." 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Dec-26-2018: Holiday Range Road Rover -- NOT

The Irregulars used to do a Holiday Range Road Rover every Christmas / New Year's season.
Well, most years.
Range Road Rover course embed:

For previous Holiday Range Road Rover reports, click here.

However, the "tradition" has been becoming weaker in recent years.
I had the 26th and the 29th off.
An informal and probably not very well "attended" poll of the Irregulars
Revealed that more people could attend / would attend a Wednesday-the-26th ride,
So that became the plan.

Ride would start from Pleasant Union Elementary (PUE) at 10 am.
In the event, two or three that had indicated they preferred the 26th, cancelled.
The ride became IvaHawk, Harvey, and me.
Three of the four Irregulars that are also active RUSA members.
I wonder if there is more than just a correlation there.

According to weather almanac sources,
The temperature for the ride we did was approximately 50F the entire ride.
I also looked up the wind report, but I didn't write it down and have forgotten
What I saw just three or four minutes ago.

50F at the end of December,
Following all the absolutely crappy weather that we had almost the entirety of December,
Was very nice.

Iva, Harvey, and I agreed to do a ride shorter than the Range Rover.
But I recall that we never agreed on exactly what.

Harvey had a plan, and that is what we started riding.
But I thought he had described something else,
And when I realized how short Harvey's idea was,
I started nudging for a bit longer -- I had in my mind doing my old "'TT' / cadence" course.
Embed of that route:

Harvey complained, but ... we ended up doing the "TT" course.
Except that we started from PUE,
Which is about 2.4-miles from the start indicated in the embedded map,
Thus the route was only approximately 24.1-miles.

Turned out Harvey had also made an appointment to see his dad on the 26th,
And the two events were close to overlapping.

We finished the shortened TT route in plenty of time for Harvey to make it to his dad's.
He may have set a record for getting his bike on his car's bike rack on skedaddling.

Iva and I spent 10 or 15 minutes chatting in the warm sunshine of the PUE parking lot.
Warm sunshine, and protected from the wind.

That's my short story, typed 5+ months after the fact, and I'll be sticking to it.

[For all previous blog reports on Range Road Rover rides, click here.]

Monday, June 3, 2019

RUSA Perms Program Suspended -- Reaction in North Carolina

Nov-27-2018:  word received that the RUSA Permanents program is suspended after Nov-30 due to liability insurance non-renewal.

Immediately there was much gnashing of teeth and people from all over the country started looking about to figure out where they might be able to pick up a RUSA 200+ km Brevet, or a RUSA 100-199 km Brevet-Populaire. 

The Board announced that there would be a mitigation program for people pursuing R-series, people pursuing P-series, people pursuing K-Hound.  Not sure when the mitigation plans were published, but it was soon after the suspension.

Two people in North Carolina particularly caught my attention:
  • BobB, looking to K-Hound and get R-108. and
  • McDave looking to K-Hound and get R-48. 
Each was looking at brevet options in nearby areas,
Essentially not wanting to put their eggs in the mitigation basket. 

I was also interested in the P-ride and R-ride issues, but
I wasn't going to travel to find rides. 

I needed a December R-ride AND
To submit my July R-ride paperwork AND get that approved
To have a calendar year R-12,
Which would have been my fourth R-12.

Sometimes, by which I mean "all the time,"
It is good to have a good relationship with the RBA.

That allowed me to call Alan with an idea.
If I would do the work, or the lion's share of it,
How about we put on some suddenly scheduled brevets and brevet-pops.
But not the usual Raleigh Region routes that start in Morrisville.
But instead create a couple new routes that would be easier for me to get to. 
Alan was amenable.

So, I took the "Badgett Sisters Parkway" 208-km perm
To make a 200+ km brevet.
[Getting permission from the owner of that route was easy -- I'm the route-owner.]

Then I figured out a 100+ km brevet-pop that started from the same location as the BSP.
The Populaire was a bit more work as there was not an existing perm-pop that fit the bill.
However, there is an Irregulars approx 75-miler route that could be modified.
That route also my invention. 

Made cue sheets and RWGPS maps as needed.
Emailed both sets to Alan for his review.
And arranged to ride the 20-miles to Alan's on December 2nd to jointly review.
I did that, with the review happening during the half-time of a
UNC Women's Soccer match.

We, by which I mean, Alan, filed the two routes.
We hoped that the routes would get approved in time for
BobB and me to pre-ride the Dec-15th "200k" on Wed, Dec-12th.

Then, on the 15th, probably with Bob's help,
I'd send the 200k brevet and 100k brevet-pop riders on their way.
And BobB and I would pre-ride the Dec-16th simultaneously with the Dec-15th brevet-pop riders.
Thus Bob and I would have our R-rides and our P-rides.

And on the 16th, I would send the 200k and 100k brevet-pop riders on their way.
Everybody in central NC would have the opportunity to get an R-ride on either of those two days.
Likewise, everyone would have the opportunity to get a P-ride on either of those two days.

However, a couple things happened.

First, I thought I was riding quite fast on the return 20-mile ride from Alan's to my hovel.
But when finished, I found I had ridden significantly slower than I thought I was riding.
Okay, so my perception was off -- no big deal.

Except that later than night, December 2nd, I noticed the start of those tell-tale signals of
"Uh-oh, I think I've got a cold."

It turned out that I did have a cold.
It would become one of the worst I can recall.

We didn't get approval for the new routes until the evening of December 12th.
I.e., too late for the only possible pre-ride date:  first thing in the day, December 12th.
But we, by which I mean Alan and me, had already decided to use the usual Morrisville routes.

It didn't really matter, because coincident with me coming down with the cold symptoms,
The weather in central NC turned absolutely LOUSY.

Backing up a bit, the RUSA Perms Program was reinstated on Dec-07.
Meaning the brevets and brevet-pops were no longer "necessary."

The reinstatement of the Perms Program,
Combined with the atrocious weather expected for December 15th and 16th,
Combined with only one person had actually committed any of the four rides,
Combined with my worst ever head cold,
I called the one committed person, McDave, to suggest he not do the brevet.
McDave agreed that it made more sense to wait for a better weather day
To ride a Perm for his R-48, and whatever else he needed to K-Hound.

Bob also waited for better weather, got his R and P rides, and
Actually got to K-Hound before McDave (who had been ahead all year).

I didn't get over my head cold until at least December 23rd, probably December-24th.
I did get in a P-ride on the 29th.
But, due to work, and worrying whether I was actually over the head cold,
Combined with it looked as if the route-owner of my July R-ride might not renew with RUSA,
And what is the point of R-12 if you don't have R-7,
I didn't do an R-ride in December.

So, to summarize:
  • Perms program suspended, 
  • New brevet and brevet-pop routes created, 
  • Perms program reinstated, 
  • New routes approved, 
  • But we were going to end up using the "usual" routes, 
  • All four brevet / brevet-pop events cancelled because of the weather, and 
  • Everyone that was interested got their K-Hound, R-ride, P-ride before month's end, 
  • Using Perm / Perm-Pop routes. . 

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Nov-2018: "Irregular" Thanksgiving Ride(s)

Some years, but apparently not in the last five or so,
We've done a Thanksgiving morning ride around Falls Lake.

Sometimes clockwise, but the preferred Thanksgiving morning ride
Would be in the counter-clockwise direction.
Because, if it is a sunny day, and there are still leaves on the trees,
One can get a very nice view of colorful trees across the lake.

"Usual" Thanksgiving morning route.
Or, at least the core route from which some small deviations might be made.


Thanksgiving Morning, Nov-22 

I expected to have to work the afternoon or evening hours of Thanksgiving Day.
So I put out a call for a possible Irregulars Thanksgiving morning ride.
Sadly, there wasn't a lot of interest except for Lt. Dave and his friend Rich.
[As far as I can recall, I had never met Rich. 
However, if I recall LT's "story" correctly, 
LT and Rich kept meeting each other on their individual solo rides near Falls Lake. 
Finally, they decided to ride together, and have been doing so for a few years.]
A further unexpected development:
I was asked to work the night before Thanksgiving Day,
From 10 pm the night before until 7 am Thanksgiving morning.
The trade-off?  I would get all Thanksgiving Day off!

So, to get to the point(s):
I worked from 10 pm until 7 am, and then cycled the 1.1-mile commute to my place,
Ate some food, changed into cycling kit, and
Cycled the 5.6-miles from my housing to PUE - the usual Irregular ride gathering spot  --
[For more information on "PUE" -- see the abbreviations page.]  
To meet LT and Rich for a counter-clockwise ride around Falls Lake beginning at 9 am.

Although I rode over 4500 miles in 2018 (over 6500 RUSA kms),
I never really got into what I would refer to as "decent cycling shape."

And not being in "decent cycling shape,"
Combined with having just spent 9 hours on my feet, doing physical work,
I was significantly slower than LT and Rich.

Although they were clearly riding slower than they would have done without me along,
Early in the ride, I had to ask them to slow down "half-a-mile-an-hour."
And later, on Patterson Road, which used to have serious climbs,
But since taking up randonneuring (in 2010), the climbs have seemed less serious,
But on Thanksgiving morning, I had to soft-pedal / spin my way up the climbs in a small gear.
I'm pretty sure that I had to use the same technique on Cheek Rd, climbing away from Falls Lake,
But the moments I can still see in my mind are from the two biggest inclines on Patterson Rd.

I don't recall the exact route we took after we got south of NC-98,
But I'm embedding the standard Irregulars lake loop (clockwise -- U can reverse in your mind).
I do imagine that I must have been pretty slow on Kemp Rd and Mt Vernon Church Rd.
Because Rich INSISTED that I let him give me a lift back to my place.
(I had intended to cycle the 5.6-miles back on my own.)

Anyway, three Irregulars completed a Thanksgiving morning ride around Falls Lake.
But I don't recall if there was much in the way of sunshine.
I doubt I even noticed during the ride -- let's face it, I was rather tired from the overnight shift.
I do recall that there was not-much in the way of colorful leaves still on the trees.

Thanksgiving Sunday, Nov-25

Harvey couldn't join the Thanksgiving morning ride.
But he was planning to qualify for, and go to, PBP, in 2019,
As such, he was interested in starting to get back into cycling shape for some Jan + Feb brevets.
So, the two of us agreed to a re-do of the Thanksgiving morning ride.

One thing though:
The weather, especially the wind, was different than the ride three days before.
So, being somewhat intelligent, we decide to ride clockwise
In order to minimize the souring effects of the headwind.
[If you look at the embedded map regarding this Sunday ride, 
You won't have to reverse the course in your mind.  LOL.]

Other than that, the only thing I can recall from that Sunday ride is this:
Harvey had driven the incredibly long three-and-a-half miles from his house to PUE,
So, when we finished the ride, he had to collect his car, etc.,
While I started my post-ride cycle-commute back to my place.

Usually, I take the longer, but safer, 6.7-mile route after a ride,
Instead of using the more direct 5.6-mile routing I usually use before a ride.
[The 5.6-miles is safe early in the day, but becomes less so after people start driving around.]

But this day, I decided to see how far I would get on the 5.6-mile route
Before Harvey caught me.
Answer:  almost all the way to Six Forks Rd.
[Meaningless to non-locals, but "Irregulars" and other locals will understand.]